For the Cutco Community, Roswell Park is a Beacon of Hope

For the Cutco Community, Roswell Park is a Beacon of Hope

When Jim Stitt was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he had the opportunity to travel south to a warmer climate for treatment. But he stayed right here in Western New York, where he knew he could receive the best care.

“I have a winter home in South Carolina, and I thought about going to Charleston for treatment,” said Jim, Executive Chairman of Cutco Corporation. “That thought lasted for about two seconds because I knew I had Roswell Park right here in our backyard. I knew of the great care that many of my employees and friends have received here.”

Cutco, an Olean-based company, is the largest manufacturer of kitchen cutlery in the United States and Canada. They’re also one of many local businesses who have stepped up as a Herd of Hope sponsor to support cancer research and patient programs at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“We have about 700 employees at Cutco, and many of them have been personally affected by cancer,” said Jim. “Cutco’s connection to cancer is not unique. Cancer affects all of us in some way, and local businesses rely on places like Roswell Park to keep our team members, our friends, our customers, our community, and even our economy healthy.”

“Because of Roswell Park and the incredible doctors and scientists that work there, I am able to stand here today as a cancer survivor,” said Jim. “I often wonder what options I would have had and where I would be had I not been able to come here.”

Choosing Roswell Park for his treatment also allowed Jim to find strength and hope in the face of a difficult journey.

“Through my experiences at Roswell Park, I learned that it isn’t just a hospital that specializes in cancer. It’s a beacon of hope, a place to where I could turn at a moment in my life when my wife and I needed answers and a plan for what to do next. Facing a cancer diagnosis, you know you have no direct control over the outcome. But I was able to pick one of the premier cancer centers in the United States for my treatment.”

For Jim, the blue buffalo statue on display at Cutco’s headquarters represents their ongoing commitment to the fight against cancer. He encourages other Western New York companies to join the Herd of Hope and do their part.

“On behalf of my fellow survivors and the patients who are battling cancer today, I’d like to encourage other area business leaders to join us as part of the Herd of Hope,” said Jim. “It is only through research that we can find new cures, and that can only be made possible with our support.”

Is your business ready to join the Herd? Find out more information or donate here.

© 2018 Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Clinical Trials and the Importance of Donor Funding

Clinical Trials and the Importance of Donor Funding

Clinical Trials and the Importance of Donor Funding

How important are clinical trials at Roswell Park? KayEllen will tell you that she is alive because of them.

After her diagnosis of stage 3 ovarian cancer and the treatment that followed, she learned about clinical trials being run here on a vaccine to prevent recurrence of her type of cancer.

So in 2010 she traveled from Ohio to Buffalo to meet Dr. Kunle Odunsi, who was conducting the trial, and see if she would qualify. Dr. Odunsi is Roswell Park’s Deputy Director, the Chair of Gynecologic Oncology and the Executive Director of the Center of Immunotherapy. KayEllen has participated in three trials run by him since that trip — and has remained cancer free the whole time.

“I believe that having access to clinical trials at a facility like Roswell Park has enabled me to continue to have a lengthy remission,” she says. “And, additionally, taking part in new treatments has enabled me to return to my ‘normal’ life — teaching, spending time with family and friends — feeling reborn.”

These clinical trials wouldn’t even be possible without donor support.

Bringing Tomorrow’s Treatments to Our Patients Today

We always strive to provide our patients with the best state-of-the-art treatment. Clinical trials enable us to go one step further and bring tomorrow’s treatments to our patients today. At any given time, there are more than 200 clinical trials underway at Roswell Park – and donations play a critical role in bringing some of these promising treatments to patients.

“We have patients and survivors who are alive today because they got a drug that was still in the research phase and which they couldn’t get anywhere else,” says Marc Ernstoff, MD, Senior Vice President for Clinical Investigation.

A clinical trial is a study designed to evaluate a promising new medical treatment. It might assess a new way to prevent, diagnose or treat cancer, or a new way to repurpose an existing treatment. All of the standard treatments our patients receive today are the results of clinical trials done in the past.

But it takes a lot to conduct all the stages of the process and bring a treatment to market: several years, hundreds of qualifying patients — and millions of dollars. At Roswell Park, trials like KayEllen’s receive significant funding from donations. Giving supports the research teams, equipment, facilities and other factors required to run a trial from start to finish.

Because of donor support, we are able to offer new hope to those battling cancer. We bring them the newest treatments faster. We run more clinical trials. And because of Roswell Park and our generous donors, we can offer the latest potentially lifesaving treatments right here in Buffalo.

A New Lease on Life

KayEllen has been married to her college sweetheart for more than 41 years now. They have two children and one grandchild. She walks 3-6 miles a day, teachers, gardens, sews, travels with her husband and “rejoices in having ‘Nana time’” with her grandson.

“I am thankful every moment of every day that I was able to take part in the clinical trials at Roswell Park,” she says. “Words truly cannot express how appreciative I am of such trials and new treatments and of the researchers and doctors who make them available to patients like myself.”

And she’s deeply grateful to everyone who gives to support clinical trials at Roswell Park: “Their gifts are going to change — and maybe save — someone’s life.”

Funds raised through Herd of Hope could be the catalyst that leads to the next cancer breakthrough at Roswell Park. Show your company’s support by making your sponsorship commitment today.

© 2018 Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Community Support Drives the Search for New Treatments — and Cures — at Roswell Park

Community Support Drives the Search for New Treatments — and Cures — at Roswell Park

Imagine that a cure for cancer can be found at Roswell Park. Now imagine that support from community members across Western New York is the thing that will make it happen.

Cancer research projects require a lot of work, resources and financial investment. Too often they can’t even get off the ground because of lack of funding. With the great wealth of talent among Roswell Park’s researchers and scientists, there are a lot of promising ideas brewing.

To help real research get started here at Elm and Carlton, Roswell Park created the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). Composed of objective Roswell Park researchers and staff, the committee solicits and reviews research project applications and awards grants to those that show the most promise to cure cancer or substantially change the face of treatment. In 2017-18, $1,442,938 in seed funding was distributed among 17 projects — all made possible by donations.

While these dollars launch the very early stages of research, they can lead to much, much more. On average, every $1 given to Roswell Park for this kind of research generates another $13 in national grant funding — funding researchers can apply for with the data they generate thanks to SAC grants. Many have resulted in clinical trials, new drugs and new treatments for our patients.

Support from the Herd of Hope will enable Roswell Park to launch special multidisciplinary research collaborations in the same vein.

Dr. Mukund Seshadri, Director of Oral Oncology, leads the SAC process and is eager to see what project receives the Herd of Hope award. “Donor dollars from the Herd of Hope will support cutting-edge ‘Team Science’ projects that bring together clinicians and researchers to focus on all three aspects of cancer research — prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer,” he explains. “Creation of such multidisciplinary teams will enable timely translation of our knowledge gained on a specific cancer or a group of closely related cancers into novel preventive or interventional trials in patients.”

“If I ever need treatment again”

Kathleen Theal was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2004. After 10 years of remission, she relapsed again in 2015 and 2017. She is currently cancer free again but continues on a maintenance drug.

If she develops tumors again, there are only two known drugs that will work on their particular DNA, and she has already become allergic to one of them. That leaves Taxol.

“If I ever need to be in treatment again and if Taxol becomes no longer effective, there is no other drug available at this time that will work for me. A very dear friend and fellow ovarian cancer patient died recently due to this fact. She ran out of options.” She knows that donations support innovative clinical trials at Roswell Park and holds out hope that a new treatment will emerge for her type of ovarian cancer before a dangerous day comes.

Through all her treatments and during her remissions, she has felt deep gratitude for the things donor support makes possible.
“Thank you, dear donors, for selflessly giving so clinical trials, research, new treatments and quality-of-life programs can continue to be available to people who you will never meet or know. If it wasn’t for kind and generous contributors who have been led to give financially to this wonderful organization, I most likely would not be here, continuing to fight.”

© 2018 Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Strength Of The Herd

Strength Of The Herd

Today, Bill Loecher is one of Roswell Park’s most active and passionate volunteers. But when he first visited 15 years ago with a loved one who was undergoing cancer treatment, he realized he didn’t know much about the place.

“Like most people, I knew Roswell Park is the place to go for cancer treatment,” said Bill. “But I didn’t immediately understand the importance of the research that happens there, too.”

Inspired by the care his family member received, Bill began volunteering with The Ride For Roswell a few years later. Through his volunteer work, he had the opportunity to meet some of Roswell Park’s research scientists and gain a better understanding of the landmark studies being led there every day.

He also learned how community donations to Roswell Park are used, as critically-needed grants that support the earliest stages of promising research. These grants, also known as seed funding, are awarded to the research projects led by Roswell Park scientists that have the most potential to find new, more effective ways to treat cancer.

“I saw how these funded projects were making such a great difference in our efforts to understand and treat cancer, and I knew that with more support, we could accelerate even more groundbreaking research,” said Bill. “I want Western New Yorkers to understand how important their donations are to that process. The research and clinical trials at Roswell Park are changing the way we treat cancer—around the world but also right here at home. That’s only possible because of the generosity of supporters in the community.”

That generosity was the inspiration behind Herd of Hope, the brand new fundraising effort that gives Buffalo businesses the chance to support this crucial research. Bill, who serves as chair of the campaign, wants to give every Western New York-based company the opportunity to take part.

“Time after time, Western New Yorkers rally around the causes they care about. Nobody does that like Buffalo,” said Bill. He sees the Herd of Hope as the chance for our corporate community—including businesses of all sizes—to come together in support of a cause that directly affects their friends, family, employees, customers and fellow citizens. “The idea behind this campaign is that together, we can have a greater impact.”

Companies that participate in Herd of Hope will receive a striking blue buffalo statue to display in their place of business. The statues will help raise awareness of this important cause and will show customers, employees and the public that these companies are dedicated supporters of Roswell Park’s mission.

The blue buffalo symbol connects the campaign to another popular community effort for Roswell Park: the Herd About Buffalo public art program, which took Western New York by storm in 2000 and again in 2010. Ultimately, though, Bill believes the campaign’s distinctive statue represents our community spirit—collaborative, generous and caring.

“I think of the herd of blue buffalo statues as a symbol of the pride, strength and compassion that Western New Yorkers are known for,” said Bill. “When you see the Herd of Hope buffalo at a local business, you’ll know right away what they stand for—making a difference in the fight against cancer.”
If you are interested in becoming a Herd of Hope partner, please email or call 716-845-HERD. You can also make your donation online.

© 2018 Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

WGRZ Channel 2 is Proud to Join the Herd

Cancer touches and takes far too many lives in Western New York. That’s why, as the local ‘On Your Side’ television station advocating for the people of Western New York and celebrating the great things happening here, we are proud and honored to support Herd of Hope!

It’s not just a corporate initiative; it’s a personal one, too. Many of our employees and their loved ones have been affected by cancer, as have thousands of other people throughout the community. We tell these stories in our newscasts regularly.

These are not just stories of loss and heartache. These are also stories of victory and survival. And there are other stories we love share with our audiences — the stories of Roswell Park’s success and their continuing breakthroughs in the fight against cancer. To be able to showcase the achievements and the impact this world-renowned organization has made in the battle against cancer fills us with pride and BuffaLove!

We understand, appreciate and recognize the value that Roswell Park brings to this community and the hope they spread for those battling cancer. It’s why WGRZ has been a partner with Roswell Park and will continue to support the amazing work they do with such community events as The Ride for Roswell, The Tree of Hope and so much more. The Herd of Hope campaign is a perfect fit for us — and it’s just one more reason we are proud to support Roswell Park and to say, ‘This is Home!’

A Community of Survivors

NOCO Makes Supporting Roswell Park a Family Tradition

NOCO Energy Corporation has a long history of supporting cancer research and patient support programs at Roswell Park. Through sponsorship of events like The Ride For Roswell and as an active presence on the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation Board, NOCO’s leadership and employees have advocated on behalf of cancer patients in Western New York for many years.

NOCO, a family business headquartered in Tonawanda, recently stepped up again to support the Herd of Hope campaign.

“During their time leading the company, my father and uncle were consistent supporters of Roswell Park’s mission,” said Jim Newman, the company’s President. Jim and his brother Michael, who serves as Executive Vice President, are the third generation of their family to lead the business. “They understood that Roswell Park plays an important role in our community, and we’re proud to continue that tradition of support.”

When Jim became a trustee of the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation Board, he gained a greater understanding of the groundbreaking cancer research that takes place every day at Roswell Park.

“I have the chance to see firsthand how donations to Roswell Park have an impact on research,” said Jim. “Meeting some of Roswell Park’s scientists and learning about these remarkable studies really drove home how critical it is for us to do everything we can to support them.”

Then, in 2014, his father Donald was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Donald had the opportunity to be part of an OmniSeq clinical trial at Roswell Park to evaluate an innovative diagnostic test that analyzes a patient’s genetic makeup to help find the most effective treatment method for their cancer. Jim credits the personalized treatment with prolonging his father’s life, giving him more time with their family.

Donald died approximately 18 months after he was diagnosed. For Jim, the devastating loss of his father deepened the meaning of his work on behalf of Roswell Park.

“We are so thankful for the extra time we had with my father thanks to his treatment and the OmniSeq program,” said Jim. “The OmniSeq test was supported in its early research stages with a grant from the Alliance Foundation—a grant that was awarded when I had recently joined the board. It was very meaningful to see the impact it was now having on patients like my father.”

The NOCO community has had other personal experiences with Roswell Park. Recently, the company’s chairman was diagnosed with cancer and treated there. Jim accompanied him to many of his appointments in the new Scott Bieler Clinical Sciences Center.

“It was amazing to see how bright, warm and welcoming the patient care areas are in the new building,” said Jim. “I want the community to know all the great, new things that are happening at Roswell Park today. Herd of Hope is another opportunity to spread that message and raise that awareness.”

What does NOCO’s support of Herd of Hope mean to their employees?

“Once you have your own experience with cancer, you start to notice just how many other people have been affected as well. After my father was diagnosed, I talked to many employees who had their own stories to share. Our company—like most companies—is really a community of survivors,” said Jim. “Our employees appreciate the chance to come together and support Roswell Park, a place that has an impact on all of us.”